Five Ways to Improve Student Achievement with Virtual Courses

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 -- Sarah Cornelius

Technology has changed the face of education in a number of ways—not the least of which is the ever-expanding availability of fully online, virtual courses. Rolling out virtual course options in your school or district can be intimidating; like any significant change, success requires planning and buy-in from everyone involved. But, a well-implemented virtual program can bring many benefits to your school, district, and students. Here, we’ve put together the top five ways you can use virtual courses to improve student achievement:

1. Expand course offerings

This generation of students is all about options, but constraints, like budgets and limited numbers of interested students, make offering the full breadth of courses that students want a challenge, especially in small districts. Virtual courses can be effective solutions that allow you to offer your students a wider variety of subjects like world languages, Career and Technical Education, and electives, such as digital photography and psychology, in a practical and affordable manner. Expanding your offerings beyond the typical courses can help students stay engaged and enter postsecondary education or the workforce with an advantage—not to mention that it can keep more students in your district.

2. Get students back on track

For some students, a traditional classroom environment simply isn’t where they thrive. Virtual courses provide an alternative option to the classroom, offer more flexibility, and support personalized learning. If you have students who aren’t succeeding in the traditional classroom or have fallen behind in credits, virtual courses can be a great tool to support credit recovery, unit recovery, and original credit, and they allow learners to work at their own pace.

3. Support accelerated learners

Struggling students tend to get a lot of attention in the classroom, and that sometimes comes at the expense of advanced students. Virtual courses can offer accelerated students the opportunity to progress through material at their own pace and the ability to take more advanced courses, such as Advanced Placement® courses, that might not be provided by your school or district.

4. Solve resource and scheduling issues

When resources are limited, it’s hard to offer the curriculum and educator support that students need. Virtual courses can help you accommodate students in need of specific courses to meet graduation requirements or those with scheduling conflicts due to student activities. Virtual courses can also help fill course gaps due to a lack of dedicated or qualified staffing.

5. Accommodate hospital and homebound students

Virtual courses can greatly benefit any student who is on a temporary or extended leave from school, is in the hospital, or is homebound. With virtual courses, you can provide these students with a full schedule of courses and teacher support in a flexible format that allows them to keep up with their cohorts and stay on track for graduation.

Interested in learning more about how your school or district can partner with Edmentum to provide virtual course solutions for your students? Check out EdOptions Academy, our fully accredited virtual high school with licensed, experienced teachers and over 250 course options!

 

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